After the spin began, the alarm bell started to ring. Before he was able to completely fasten his parachute, he passed out from lack of oxygen. Before, he passed out, Sgt Ruddy entered the radar compartment. When Beckwith regained consciousness, he was out of the B-29 in a free fall at about 4,000 feet altitude. Only his arms were through the parachute straps, not his legs. He did not believe he had time to fasten the chest and leg straps so he pulled the rip cord and stayed with the parachute. After the parachute opened, he noticed that parts of the B-29 falling around him. He believes he saw the tail section hit the ground. They landed near a Japanese guard house, so did not have any chance to practice escape and evasion.
SSgt Huss wrote that he believed he and Beckwith were the only survivors. Neither knew how they got out of the B-29. They thought the B-29 exploded or broke open at the blister section; the fire control room, where they were. During his interrogation by the enemy, he was told that a badly injured crew member had been shot. He did not who this was or if it was true. When he and Beckwith were liberated, they found a box of flier’s clothing, including the Mackinaw and winter flying boots that Gwaltney was wearing. Both bore Gwalney’s name plate, which probably indicates the enemy may have found and disposed of his body. Other item was the back parachute that belonged to Sgt Roth as he found Roth’s record card in the same box. Sgt. Beckwith was captured and a POW of the Japanese until liberated. He died 23 June 2014 in Sonoma Co., California, and is buried in the Santa Rosa Memorial Park, Santa Rosa, California. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.
His father, Floyd E. Huss, served in the medical corps of the U.S. Army in WW I from 4 September 1918 to 13 March 1919, in France for 2 months of the war. He is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery, Fremont, Ohio.
Walter E. Huss, Ross H.S.
GWALTNEY, KENNETH B., Technical Sergeant, # 13003838, USAAF
Kenneth B. Gwaltney was born on 19 September 1922 in New York City, New York. No reasonably reliable family data could be found to honor him and his family. Assistance is welcome.
He enlisted in the USAAF in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on 7 October 1940. He trained in the maintenance and operation of the .50 caliber machineguns on the B-29 Superfortress. He was the tail gunner on 7 December 1944. On 7 December 1944, B-29, # 42-6299, “Humpin’ Honey,” of 20th Air Force, Pardoba India, 462nd Bomb Group, 770th Bomb Squadro, departed the airfield at Kuinglai, China, on a bombing mission to Mukden, Manchuria. Over the target, at 0122 Zulu, an enemy aircraft crashed head-long into the B-29, killing all but two of the crew on board (MACR 10125). SSgt Beckwith reported that the first unusual condition that was noticed in the B-29 was the disappearance of about 20 feet of the left wing. The B-29 seemed to fly straight and level for a while then started to spin to the left. SSgt Huss, Sgt Ruddy and Beckwith prepared to leave the gunners compartment to bail out. During this, Beckwith called on the interphone to the pilot to inform him of the damage to the left wing. There was no acknowledgment or answer.